Gestalt psychology[->0] is a school of psychology based upon the idea that we experience things as unified wholes. This approach to psychology began in Germany and Austria during the late 19th century in response to the molecular approach of structuralism. Instead of breaking down thoughts and behavior to their smallest elements, the gestalt psychologists believed that you must look at the whole of experience. According to the gestalt thinkers, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Humanistic psychology instead focused on individual free will, personal growth and the concept of self-actualization[->1]. While early schools of thought were largely centered on abnormal human behavior, humanistic psychology differed considerably in its emphasis on helping people achieve and fulfill their potential.
Structuralism was the first school of psychology and focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components. Researchers tried to understand the basic elements of consciousness using a method known as introspection. Wilhelm Wundt[->2], founder of the first psychology lab[->3], was an advocate of this position and is often considered the founder of structuralism, despite the fact that it was his student, Edward B. Titchener who first coined the term to describe this school of thought
Functionalism formed as a reaction to the structuralism and was heavily influenced by the work of William James[->4] and the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin. Functionalists sought to explain the mental processes in a more systematic and accurate manner. Rather than focusing on the elements of consciousness, functionalists focused on the purpose of consciousness and behavior. Functionalism also emphasized individual differences, which had a profound impact on education.
Behaviorism suggests that all behavior can be explained by environmental causes rather than by internal forces. Behaviorism is focused on observable behavior.... [continues]
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